Technically Dying

Douthwaite (1983) suggests the technological fix is not a real solution, but should still be considered an important contribution to a societal problem, even if it is just temporary. Further, he suggests that humanity needs both a technological and social understanding of issues to survive and thrive in today’s world. Johnstone (2018) argues that humans show a lack of effort when it comes to looking into future side effects of a fix, taking into account the political and ethical implications of a fix, and the tendency to take on the reductionist view- of simplifying and narrowly defining complex social problems. Johnstone concludes that “modern problems cannot be reduced to mere engineering solutions of the long term; human goals are diverse and constantly changing” (Johnstone, 54). Finally, Michael and Joyce Huesemann (2011) refute Douthwaite’s argument by taking the extreme approach to technological fixes by saying that humans cannot improve upon nature, that humans have disrupted the balance of our larger ecological system by developing technology faster than the environment can clean up after it, and the generation of “half-knowledge”.

There is a phrase that I was reminded of several times throughout these readings. The phrase “evolutionary dissonance” refers to how the rate of evolution is incredibly slower than the rates of technological development that change how we live day to day. When reading the Huesemann article, the thought that our world as an ecological system cannot keep up the equilibrium with the rate that humans force it to struck me to be unfortunate, similar, and correct. I think that it’s an impossible thing to tell humans to stop finding technological solutions to issues, but I think that we need to be more careful and do a thorough analysis of unintended consequences-to ultimately understand the trophic cascade that will, without a doubt, happen.


1 thought on “Technically Dying”

  1. This was a very well written post. I think you did an especially good job summarizing the different authors point of view on technological fixes. It is often hard to condense an author’s work down to a few sentences and you did a great job doing that. I also thought you brought up a good point when referencing “evolutionary dissonance” as a reason for our need for technology. I too wrote of something similar in that technology buys us time as we slowly progress socially throughout history. Do you think this is the reason humans often look past the negative consequences of technology, viewing that its benefits outweigh the risks? Great point as well bringing up the fact that it is almost impossible to think that humans would stop creating technology but we should begin to concentrate on the consequences of our actions a little more closely. Overall you wrote a great post.

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